Monday, July 13, 2009

Bloggers: Filling a gap in sports coverage?

The ongoing skirmishes between sports journalists and bloggers -- the most recent reflected in Mark Cuban's suggestion (in his blog, of all places) that some bloggers be publicly shunned by media organizations -- involve two groups that often work at odds but who generally describe themselves in similar ways.
That's according to a new survey just released by the Center for Sports Journalism at Penn State. The survey involved more than 200 bloggers who provide daily coverage of a variety of sports.
Not surprisingly, most bloggers in the survey were men, and most covered men's sports. Most say what they do is sports journalism -- although most don't use original reporting in their blogs, nor have they applied for credentials to a sports event.
They also hold themselves to different ethical standards than professional journalists; for instance, a very high percentage said journalists should verify information -- but the number dropped when bloggers were asked about their use of information.
It's not surprising that most bloggers we surveyed have never worked in a newsroom, nor do they have journalism degrees. I think what explains most of the gap between bloggers and journalists, in terms of attitudes and values, lies in the original reporting they do. I think that if sports organizations (and journalists) are truly concerned about the erosion of sports coverage via blogs, they should advocate for more blogger access to opportunities to do original reporting. That means more access to press boxes, media conference calls, and maybe even to locker rooms. The challenge is in how to make that happen, of course.


Christy Hammond said...

I think many blogs are started because the blogger does not believe that topic is getting the coverage it deserves. Obviously there are other reasons for creating a blog, but I think it is safe to say that bloggers are filling a gap in sports coverage.

As newspaper circulations shrink and reporters are laid off, we're seeing some sports/teams receive less print coverage on a daily and even weekly basis. Bloggers may not have access to the team to get original quotes. That doesn't mean they can't create unique content -- statistical analysis, game analysis, etc.

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